Wing Bowl 14 is over! Okay, the people leaving The Wachovia Center may be stumbling out, not necessarily from the excitement, but then again, its' all about a good time. People were so elated with one another, women were hugging and kissing from the Flyer bench (need I say more, if you want the picture, check out the photo gallery). After is was all said and done, Joey Chestnut became the newest crowned champion of Wing Bowl, winning a brand new car. From the onset, The Locust was the crowd favorite, and how could he not be.
The guy had to be at least 70 years old, he weighed maybe 120 lbs., and his elderly wife stood by him supporting the man from start to finish. Each and every time his picture flashed on the scoreboard, the crowd went wild, encouraging the AARP member to eat on. I must say, it was a thing of beauty to watch this guy eat.
He absolutely devoured wings in a single gulp, licking the bone clean, moving at a pace no other contestant could match. However, as Wing Bowl eaters of the past have learned, this a competition suited for longevity, not necessarily speed. Wing Tut showed the crowd his best stuff by regurgitating his breakfast in front of 20,000 plus at the The Wachovia Center. But this is only the beginning. After nearly 4 hours, 30,000 plus empty beer cans in the parking lot, the smell of chicken off the bone, and a barrage Philadelphia's finest citizens displaying their best "picture" faces, Wing Bowl is now officially in the books. Bill Simmons, better known as "El Wingador" had his name retired within the 610WIP Wing Bowl Banner Hall of Fame.
Its proudly displayed to the right of the Philadelphia Phantoms Culder Cup Trophy banner. El Wingador is now in the rafters with Wilt, Dr. J, Bobby Clarke, and Billy Joel. The world of sports and entertainment has come together as one, with a new member in the neighborhood. The number 173 is special today. Joey Chestnut set a Wing Bowl record, eclipsing the "Black Widow's" record from 2 years ago of 167, and need I remind you that the Widow achieved her feat in over-time.
After all has been said and done, the experience of Wing Bowl is much like being in the final two at the World Series of Poker or getting to play one-on-one with the Doc himself. Hey a World Series game sitting next to the President would be memorable, and this is what Wing Bowl is all about. Great memories that will continually remind us of everything grand about Philadelphia and why we get up at 3 a.m. to venture downtown to the see a bunch of societies outcasts engulf buffalo wings on a rainy Friday morning in February. Yes, life is beautiful on days like this.
By: Phil Reggio